Venue Talk: Gengahr on The Astoria

I chatted to John from Gengahr about his fave live music venue. He chose the late Astoria in London. Watch Gengahr’s video for ‘Before Sunrise’ below, then check out the interview.

Can I choose one that no longer exists? The Astoria. Saw so many great bands there, it was the perfect size and if you found the right spot it sounded great either downstairs or upstairs.

“You could sit down upstairs if you were knackered. Also it was twinned with the Mean Fiddler and after many years we worked out how to get downstairs to the separate venue without anyone seeing so you could get two gigs for the price of one. This was only useful once when there was a great support band downstairs and a great headline act upstairs.

Unfortunately I didn’t make any music anyone would want to hear before it got torn down. The gap by Tottenham Court Road station still makes me sad.

I got to see loads of stuff there. A lot of US rock stuff as well as U.K. Indie. I think the last gig I went to was Rancid. I saw Death Cab For Cutie and my mate fell asleep upstairs on the chairs, entirely apt for that band. Saw Biffy Clyro at there last London show before they signed to a major and changed a fair bit.

“I saw a UK band called Seafood that was great, the album ‘when do we start fighting’ is worth looking up. I saw Regina Spektor there before she got really big, I think it was the only time she had a full band and she did some truly awful dancing, probably why she sat behind the piano the rest of her career. The video for Radioheads ‘my iron lung’ is shot there (I’m pretty sure), I wish I was around for that gig.”

Venue Facts

  • The Astoria originally opened as a cinema!
  • It was sadly closed in 2009.
  • Richey Edwards had his last live performance with the Manic Street Preachers in the Astoria.
  • Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Feeder and The Cranberries all had live albums recorded at the Astoria.
  • Nirvana, The Strokes, Prince, Blur, Bowie, Madonna and Oasis all played the Astoria.

Gengahr’s second album, Where Wildness Grows, is out now (and its bloody good.) Buy it here or stream it here.

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Upcoming! The rest of 2018: A preview.

According to my calendar, it is the end of July. This means that somehow we are over halfway through 2018 already. However! The year is far from over, with many top musical artists set to release an LP before ’18 is up. Let’s have a look at a few, shall we?

August

Ariana Grande – Sweetener (17th)

The follow-up to Ariana’s 2016 banger filled ‘Dangerous Woman’ album is set to release mid-August. With production from Pharrell, features from Missy Elliott and three already released, very good singles, this could be the best pop album of the year.

Spring King – A Better Life (17th)

Following on from their blistering 2016 debut album ‘Tell Me If You Like To’, Spring King will release ‘A Better Life’ in August. Expect the same level of energy as their previous effort but with higher production levels and even more bangers, as shown with lead single ‘Animal’

Animal Collective – Tangerine Reef (17th)

Experimental Americans Animal Collective are releasing an audiovisual album in celebration of the International Year of the Reef on the 17th August. Should be interesting.

Interpol – Marauder (24th)

Returning for their first album in 4 years, New York indie legends Interpol will release Marauder on the 24th August. Lead single ‘The Rover’ is pretty damn good so i’m hopeful that the rest will follow suit.

The Lemon Twigs – Go To School (24th)

The New York Duo are set to release their second album, Go To School in August. They’ve released 2 singles from it so far, with ‘Small Victories’ being a peppy little number, and ‘If You Give Enough’ being a slower, piano based ballad.

Emma Blackery – Villains (31st)

Releasing her debut album in August, Emma Blackery has slowly built up her sound over the years to the refined pop it is today. Recent singles ‘Agenda’ and ‘Icarus’ should be good tasters for what is shaping up to be a very nice 1st effort.

Troye Sivan – Bloom (31st)

Kiwi pop prodigy Troye is set to follow up 2015’s Blue Neighbourhood this August. Lead single ‘My My My!’ was an absolute banger, and recent Ariana Grande collab ‘Dance To This’ was also rather good. Good.

September

Paul McCartney – Egypt Station (7th)

Sir Macca is releasing his first album since 2013’s ‘New’, and the first two singles from it have been very pleasant. You’d think he would have got the hang of this sort of thing by now anyway.

Spiritualized – And Nothing Hurt (7th)

Spiritualized return for their first album in around 6 years, with ‘And Nothing Hurt’ coming out early September. They’ve released a double single to kick this album campaign off, and ‘I’m Your Man’ is very nice indeed.

Pale Waves – My Mind Makes Noises (14th)

Very fast-rising stars of indie-pop Pale Waves are set to release their debut in September. Featuring a few of their recent singles, but mostly new material, this could be one of the buzziest, and best albums of the year.

Christine and The Queens – Chris (21st)

Following up her massive breakthrough debut is a big ask, but the first two singles from ‘Chris’ – ‘Girlfriend’ and ‘Doesn’t Matter’ have been her best work yet, so this could be very special.

Suede – The Blue Hour (21st)

Indie legends Suede follow up their brilliant ‘Night Thoughts’ album with a new LP in September. Latest single ‘Don’t Be Afraid If Nobody Loves You’ was a continuation of their good form, so i’m hopeful for the full project.

Black Honey – Black Honey (21st)

The debut album by Black Honey comes out in September. With big tracks like ‘Hello Today’ under their belt, the indie rockers should easily pull a belter of a debut off.

Amber Arcades – European Heartbreak (28th)

Consistently good since her debut in 2016, Amber Arcades has released a scattering of singles and an EP since then, and is building up to release her 2nd project proper in late September.

Doe – Grow Into It (28th)

London indie rock trio Doe will be following up their brilliant debut ‘Some Things Last Longer Than You’ in September. Lead single ‘Heated’ is a punky banger.

October

Twenty One Pilots – Trench (5th)

The emo rock/rap duo return after 2015’s massive ‘Blurryface’ album, which catapulted them into the mainstream. Lead double singles ‘Jumpsuit’ and ‘Nico and the Niners’ were both quality tunes from the lads.

Estrons – You Say I’m Too Much, I Say You’re Not Enough (5th)

The welsh rockers are winding up to release their debut album on in October, with lead single ‘Cameras’ giving a good taste of what to expect.

The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships

Matty and co. have been working on two new albums since 2016’s ‘I Like It When You Sleep..’ and the first of those is slated for release some time in October. The 2 singles released so far have been good pop bangers so we shall see.

Some time this year (hopefully)

Charli XCX

She’s been working on her third ‘proper’ album for quite some time now, releasing a slew of mixtapes and singles since 2015’s ‘Sucker’. It will probably be worth the wait though.

Childish Gambino

Donald has been rather busy lately, and rumour is the singles he has been dropping so far this year are part of a full project slated for Autumn. Very good.

Vampire Weekend

Please hurry up you’ve had since 2013.

Brockhampton

We know they have an album out, just not when. Good singles so far this year though, especially ‘1997 Wildfire’.

The Good, The Bad and The Queen

One of Damon Albarn’s 100 bands has their second album ‘finished’ and will be released sometime in 2018. Their last one way back in 2007 was some of Damo’s finest work to date, so this should be very good.

Anderson Paak.

Following on from the excellent ‘Malibu’ album, Anderson is meant to have 2 albums coming out in 2018. He’s leaving it late if that’s the case but still, something to look forward to.


Of course, there will be a few surprise releases, and there’s always a few date changes but that’s all part of the fun really.

Street Noise – Raising Money through Gigs.

Street Noise UK are putting on a series of gigs across the UK in order to raise money for the Big Issue North Trust, who support those on the streets, with their first gig being headlined by Frank Turner.

Frank Turner at the 1st Street Noise Gig.

Fundraising Manager for Big Issue North, George Wright, gave me some more info about the initiative.

“We launched Street Noise last year, to find a new way to raise money for Big Issue North. The trust supports people who sell Big Issue North on the streets, helping with anything from housing and health issues to problems with addiction or money management.”

“We thought gigs would be a great way to fundraise, as Big Issue North has always championed great music. We were lucky enough to get the awesome Frank Turner to headline our first show, and he rocked the Manchester Ritz to its foundations! I’m really excited for Puppet Rebellion to follow in his footsteps, as they carry on their climb to the top, and for many more Street Noise gigs to come.”

The next gig is at Night and Day Cafe in Manchester on the 5th July and is headlined by Puppet Rebellion, with tickets on sale now from here.

 

Tramlines 2018 – Who to Watch

This year’s Tramlines lineup is the biggest yet, so it might be a bit difficult to pick out who to see. Worry not, I’ve got you covered.

 

Friday

The Big Moon – Main Stage

The Big Moon always put on a good, energy filled show, and with the Mercury Nommed group opening up the main stage this year, there’s no reason to miss them.

Everything Everything – Main Stage

Everything Everything are one of the most experimental, consistent bands around right now, and their live shows are equally amazing. Not to be missed.

The Orielles – Leadmill Live Stage

Having released their brilliant debut album earlier this year, The Orielles are a perfect example of upbeat indie rock.

Saturday

Blossoms – Main Stage

Quickly becoming one of the biggest names in indie music over the last few years, Blossoms will be sure to get the crowd going on Saturday evening.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Main Stage

It’s Noel Gallagher.

Mabel – T’Other Stage

One of the best new names in pop from the last few years, Mabel is bringing her R&B hits to Tramlines on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday

The Seamonsters – T’Other Stage

One of the most exciting young bands in Sheffield at the mo, The Seamonsters open T’Other Stage on Sunday.

Pale Waves – T’Other Stage

One of the fastest rising indie bands at the moment, Pale Waves will bring their slick indie pop to T’Other Stage on Sunday.

De La Soul – Main Stage

Hip-Hop legends De La Soul will take to the stage on Sunday evening and are sure to put on a big, energy filled show.

Teleman – The Library Stage

Consistently brilliant and inventive, Teleman are bringing their synth driven indie sounds to the Library Stage on Sunday night.


Tickets for Tramlines are still available, with more info and the full lineup at http://tramlines.org.uk

Venue Talk: Studio Killers on Ruisrock Festival

I spoke to Studio Killers about their favourite live music venue. The European electro-pop trio made up of Cherry, Goldie Foxx and Dyna Mink chose the place that they made their live debut, Ruisrock Festival in Finland.

Where is your favourite live venue?

“Ruisrock festival in Finland.”

Why is it your favourite venue?

“We love it so much because it’s located in a beautiful area by the sea. The vibe at the festival is fantastic!”

Who else have you seen perform there?

“We saw Disclosure there in 2015 and thought they were great!”

Have you ever played there yourself?

“Yeah we’ve played there twice before, in 2014 and 2015. The 2014 festival was our first ever live show!”

Festival Facts

  • Ruisrock festival is split into two areas, the beach and the meadow.
  • The Festival was founded in 1970
  • The Clash has their last ever live performance at Ruisrock.
  • This year’s lineup includes Tyler The Creator, First Aid Kit, Skepta, Dua Lipa and N.E.R.D.

Find more information about Ruisrock here: http://www.ruisrock.fi/